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Laboratory Tests: Thyroid Function Test


Thanks to the new technologies available in veterinary medicine and which we offer to you as a world exclusive, we can redesign the diagnosis of canine hypothyroidism. In this article, we present a summary of thyroid profile, with some key information for a correct interpretation.

When do you suspect hypothyroidism in dogs?

Productive thyroid deficiency usually results from a progressive immune-mediated disease. The symptoms of hormonal deficiency are numerous, different from dog to dog and progressive like gravity. The most common are lethargy, inactivity, weight gain, cold intolerance, dermatological disorders, and recurrent infections. Less common is a general weakness, incoordination, cardiovascular changes, infertility, and epilepsy.

It must be remembered, however, that the "typical" picture (dermatological lesions + alterations linked to the reduced metabolic rate) occurs only in some subjects and always belatedly. Even the most common laboratory alterations, such as non-regenerative anemia and hyperlipemia, may be lacking. The presence of gastrointestinal alterations, in particular, chronic diarrhea, is frequent.

The conclusion is that hypothyroidism must be taken into consideration when the dog has disease states that involve the skin and immune defenses and digestive, cardiovascular and neurological function, particularly when an immune-mediated origin is detected for this conditions.

What are the difficulties in diagnosing hypothyroidism?

The most common type of hypothyroidism in dogs is the primary form, with progressive gland atrophy and production deficiency in the terminal phases. Traditionally, the diagnosis was based on the serum determination of total T4 (T4 bound to transport proteins, tT4) and free T4 (free T4, fT4) concomitant with the determination of the Thyroid Stimulant hormone (TSH). The expected result in case of primary hypothyroidism is a serum TSH higher than the reference interval (as an expression of the pituitary stimulus in the presence of chronic hormonal deficiency) and fT4 and tT4 lower than the interval.

In clinical practice, on the other hand, this pattern (TSH increased, and fT4 decreased) unfortunately is not always found:

1) As demonstrated in experimental models, the TSH tends to "re-enter" in the reference interval with the chronicization of the disease and the finding of thyroid profiles with decreased fT4 and normal TSH

2) Many therapies and in general a state of disease (in particular if of an inflammatory nature) are able to reduce the quantity of serum tT4 and also of fT4 (although this analyte is less sensitive to concomitant pathologies and to therapies). Once again, the pattern will be decreased by tT4 / fT4 and normal or decreased TSH. The problem is that a hypothyroid dog is very often treated with drugs, for example, antibiotics and a state of illness is also frequent, and therefore the degree of confusion and the diagnostic difficulty will be maximum.

What is the thyroid profile for?

Thyroid profile helps to rule out the presence of thyroid diseases. In addition, this study offers the health professional (general practitioner, endocrinologist) a way to assess the patient's treatment and the evolution of the disease.

An important part of the thyroid profile test is the analysis of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland that is the size of a pea and is located at the base of the brain. What is the thyroid profile for?

It helps to rule out the presence of thyroid diseases. In addition, this study offers the health professional (general practitioner, endocrinologist) a way to assess the patient's treatment and the evolution of the disease.

What Is Thyroid Disease And What Tests Might Help You To Diagnose It?

Thyroid disease is a disease that affects the thyroid gland. Sometimes the body makes too much or too little thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, the way the body uses energy and affects almost every organ in the body. Too many thyroid hormones are called hyperthyroidism and can cause many body functions to speed up. Too few thyroid hormones called hypothyroidism and can cause many body functions to slow down requiring to have thyroid test.

Thyroid hormones play an important role during pregnancy and in the development of a healthy child and the preservation of the mother's health during pregnancy and hypothyroidism.

Women having thyroid problems can have a healthy pregnancy and safeguard their fetuses' health, learning about the effect of pregnancy on the thyroid gland, keeping current on their testing of thyroid function, and also taking the necessary medications.

A blood test includes blood sampling at the office of a health care provider or a commercial facility and sending samples to a laboratory for analysis. Diagnostic blood tests may include:

  • TSH test.  If the symptoms of a pregnant woman suggest hyperthyroidism, her doctor will probably, first of all, perform a hypersensitive TSH test. This test detects even small amounts of TSH in the blood and is the most accurate indicator of thyroid activity available. Typically, hyperthyroidism is indicated below normal TSH levels. However, low levels of TSH can also occur in normal pregnancy, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, due to a slight increase in thyroid hormones from HCG.
  • T3 and T-4 test.  If the TSH level is low, another blood test is performed to measure T3 and T4. The increased level of free T4- part of thyroid hormones is not attached to the thyroid gland-binding protein-confirming the diagnosis. Rarely, in women with hyperthyroidism, free T4 levels may be normal, but T3 at high levels. Because normal pregnancy-related changes in thyroid function, test results should be interpreted with caution.
  • TSI test.  If a woman has a disease or has had surgery or radioactive iodine treatment for the disease, her doctor can check her blood for TSI antibodies.

What to remember?

Thyroid disease is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland produces more or less thyroid hormones than the body needs.

  • Pregnancy results in normal changes in thyroid function, but can also result in having thyroid disease.
  • Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism during pregnancy can also affect the mother and unborn baby negatively.
  • During pregnancy, mild hyperthyroidism does not require treatment. More serious hyperthyroidism is treated with            anti-thyroid drugs that act by interfering with the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Uncontrolled hypothyroidism at the time of having pregnancy can also lead to severe health issues in the mother              and can affect fetal growth and brain development.
  • The treatment of hypothyroidism during pregnancy is done with the thyroid tests having synthetic thyroid                      hormone, thyroxine (T4).
  • Postpartum thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid gland, causes a short period of hyperthyroidism, often                    accompanied by hypothyroidism, which usually goes away within a year. Sometimes hypothyroidism is permanent.
How Do You Feel While Getting Yourself Treated for Thyroid Cancer?

diagnosis of thyroid cancer

It was a spine chilling December morning when I found myself waiting for an appointment on the first floor of Morristown Medical Center. My appointment was in room number 203. Dressed in blue, my favorite color, I was desperately waiting for my turn.

“Nola” someone called. I stepped inside the room from where I have been called.

The technician was all dressed up for the occasion in surgical masks and gloves.

He cautiously opened a locked container and I could see stamp on it. After removing a pink prescription pill bottle, he tweaked the pill between the tweezers. After placing it in a small cup he handed it over to me. I swallowed it in a single gulp hoping that this would be the last step of treatment for Thyroid Cancer.

You rise every morning and then get immersed in everyday’s work like everyone does. And then all of a sudden you come to know that you are suffering from Thyroid Cancer. How does it feel? In my case my whole world turned upside down.

My Age When I Was Diagnosed With Thyroid Cancer

I was 32 when I was first diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. I was asymptomatic. I had no symptoms of Thyroid Cancer.  I went for a routine checkup when my doctor felt a lump in my neck and then he wrote a series of tests and after that more tests followed and till now the tests are following me without a full stop.

I regularly go for routine health checkups but I never gave much importance to this particular gland. But this part of the body is actually pretty important since it keeps the metabolism of the body balanced and is responsible for several other bodily functions. 

I Underwent Surgery Twice

I ended up going under the knife twice. Once to remove the 5-centimeter tumor at the left side of my thyroid and second to remove the gland. The recovery wasn’t dreadful but emotionally I was damaged. Getting up every day with the same disease without having a physical parameter to measure your recovery is despairing.

When reports of surgeries and tests came, it revealed that I had a spot on my chest. I tried not to get scared, but somewhere I was losing hope.

At times I used to wake up in the middle of the night with severe pain in my neck as if someone had punched me really hard.

I patiently followed the entire series of tests and finally I had to prepare myself, more mentally than physically, for the last step: Radiotherapy

My doctors made me swallow white pill in the shot glass and after that I had to drink 10 ounces of water. It wasn’t easy. They suggested me to go straight home because I could alert authorities that something radioactive is travelling. I laughed the moment he said this but he was damn serious.

I diligently followed the entire process like I had to excrete at regular intervals and also had to start sucking on sour hard candy. I followed everything like a disciplined school kid.

After 15 days, I had a test lined up which would reveal whether the radiations  worked or not and to my surprise it worked! The spot on my chest was gone.

Till five years I had to undergo scans every year, ultra sound thrice a year and a number of other tests until I was considered in full remission.

This deadly disease has left a deep scar on my neck. But I don’t cover it like other Thyroid cancer survivors generally do instead I consider it like my victory symbol, the badge which tells the story of what I had been through and how I survived it. I wear it as a pride flaunting my courage and what I am capable of overcoming.

It’s necessary to get yourself tested for Thyroid Cancer on time to be able to let your cancer get diagnosed on time. Schedule your thyroid Test today!!

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